Learn how to factory reset your iPhone with or without a password.
- To reset your iPhone and wipe all data, tap "Erase All Content and Settings" in the Settings app.
- Before resetting your iPhone, make sure you back it up to iCloud.
- After you reset your iPhone, you can restore it with your backup to retrieve data.
If you’re experiencing issues with your iPhone, like if it’s freezing or glitching, resetting the device to its factory settings may solve the problem. Or, if you are giving your phone to someone else, you need to take some time to wipe and reset it to factory settings. Doing so will ensure that nobody has access to the treasure trove of personal information we all keep on our phones. Below, I’ll show you how to factory reset your iPhone with or without a password and make sure your data is backed up.
What is a factory reset?
A factory reset restores your software to its original manufacturer settings, so it operates as if you never even took the device out of the box. Resetting your iPhone to its factory settings will completely remove of user data from your phone: contacts, playlists, pictures, password memory, or anything else you’ve added since the day you bought it will be removed.
Why should you do a factory reset?
If you’re experiencing issues with your iPhone, like if it’s freezing or glitching, resetting the device to its factory settings may solve the problem. Or, if you’re selling or giving away your iPhone, you’ll want to reset it so all your personal information is wiped from the device.
Before resetting your iPhone to factory settings, back up your iPhone
Before you reset your iPhone, create a backup that you can use to set up your new iPhone, and which you can return to if you’re missing contacts or photos on your new phone.
With default settings enabled, your iPhone will back up your data regularly during sleep hours, if it’s connected to power and Wi-Fi. However, if the automatic backup feature is disabled, you can go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup and then hit Back Up Now to manually back up your device.
How to factory reset your iPhone
Wiping your phone only takes a few minutes, but it’s incredibly simple to do.
Step 1: Open the Settings app
To get started, open the Settings app on your iPhone, then select General from the list of options.
Step 2: Tap Transfer or Reset
Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap Transfer or Reset iPhone. The next screen will give you the option to prepare your phone to set up another device. You can follow those steps if you’re getting ready to transfer any files and app data onto your new iPhone.
If you’ve already done that, just tap Erase All Content and Settings at the bottom of the screen. Enter your passcode when prompted.
Step 3: Go to "Erase This iPhone"
The next screen, titled "Erase This iPhone" at the top, details all of the information that will be erased from your device.
Here, you’ll be informed that any cards, keys, or passes in the Wallet app will be removed. And, yes, Find My and Activation Lock will also be disabled.
Tap the blue Continue button. You’ll be presented with an iCloud Backup screen that, if you let it run its course, will store one last backup of your iPhone before the internals are erased.
Step 4: Select "Turn Off"
On the next screen, you’ll be asked to enter your Apple ID/iCloud account password.
This is the step that turns Find My off. After entering your password, tap on the Turn Offbutton in the top-right corner.
It may seem like nothing is happening when you select Turn Off, but give it a second or two before doing anything else.
In my experience, your phone is trying to turn off Find My during this time, but it lacks any sort of progress indicator.
Step 5: Erase iPhone
Finally, you’ll see another popup with a button labeled Erase iPhone. If you tap the button, your iPhone will reboot a few times and, once it’s done, all of your information will be fully wiped from it.
A few minutes later, you’ll be greeted with a screen with "Hello" in different languages flashing on it, indicating the reset was a success.
How to reset your iPhone without your password using iTunes or Finder
You can use a computer to access recovery mode and reset your iPhone to factory settings without the password. If you have a Mac you’ll be using Finder, and if it’s a PC you’ll be using iTunes — which you need to download first.
Step 1: Turn the iPhone off
The exact way to do this will depend on what kind of iPhone you have:
- To turn off iPhone 15, iPhone 14, iPhone 13, iPhone 12s, iPhone 11s, iPhone X/XR/XS, iPhone 8s, and iPhone SE (second and 3rd generation), press and hold the Lock and Volume Down buttons until the power slider appears on screen, then swipe it.
- To restart iPhone SE (first generation), iPhone 7 Plus, and earlier, press and hold the Lock button until the power slider appears on screen, then swipe it.
Step 2: Put your iPhone into Recovery Mode
Once your iPhone is off, plug it into your computer and put it into recovery mode. To do this, you’ll need to press a certain combination of buttons:
- iPhone 15, iPhone 14, iPhone 13, iPhone 12s, iPhone 11s, iPhone X/XR/XS, iPhone 8s, and iPhone SE (second and third generations,) press and hold the side button.
- iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, press and hold the Volume Down button.
- iPhone SE (first generation), iPhone 6S, and earlier, press and hold the Home button.
Keep holding the button and connect the phone to your laptop. Keep holding the button until the recovery mode screen appears. It’ll have a picture of a laptop with a charging cable.
Step 3: Restore your iPhone
Once ready, open Finder or iTunes and open the iPhone menu. If you’re using Finder, click your iPhone’s name in the left sidebar. In iTunes, click the iPhone icon in the upper-left corner.
You’ll be shown a message saying that the iPhone has a "problem" and needs to be updated or restored. Select Restore.
Keep your iPhone connected to the computer as it resets and restores the iPhone. Time can vary, so be patient.
Once the process finishes, turn your iPhone on and set it up like a new device. When you’re asked if you’d like to restore data from a backup, feel free to sign into iCloud and do so.